Praedial Larceny, Trinidad (Punishment).

Oral Answers to Questions — West Indies. – in the House of Commons on 18th May 1938.

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Mr. Creech Jones:

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the sentence of 12 lashes and six months hard labour in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on 4th May, for praedial larceny of 50 cabbages; and whether it is the policy of the Government in Trinidad that efforts should be made to cure the theft of food by flogging?

Mr. M. MacDonald:

A report on this case has been received from the Acting-Governor, from which it appears that a sentence of "flogging" was passed but was commuted to 12 strokes with the birch, this sentence being duly carried out. The offender was a well-known thief and bad character with 25 previous convictions, 17 of which were for larceny. At the time of his conviction he was on "ticket-of-leave" following a sentence of two years' imprisonment for attempted larceny from a tailoring establishment. The last offence was committed within two months of his release from prison. As regards the general policy of inflicting corporal punishment for praedial larceny, I would refer to the reply given by my predecessor to the hon. Member for Leyton West (Mr. Sorensen) on 6th April.

Mr. Creech Jones:

While I am fully aware of the character of this man, may I ask the Minister whether it is the policy of the Government to implement the recommendation in the report of the Committee on Trinidad in regard to flogging as a punishment for praedial larceny after the first offence?

Mr. MacDonald:

If the hon. Member will read the answer to which I have referred, he will see what the policy of the Government is.

Photo of Mr John Jagger Mr John Jagger , Manchester Clayton

Is not flogging for praedial larceny an abominable sentence?